Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Thursday, March 10, 2011

LMS eCommerce Solution

I just got off the phone with someone who has a fairly common need that I've heard before.  The needs are very similar to those in Rapid LMS and  LMS Solution for Simple Partner Compliance Training

In this case, they are looking to provide their content as eLearning and sell it to individuals and organizations.  Key aspects:

  • Individual eCommerce - someone can go on and buy the course just for themselves
  • Group eCommerce - someone can go on and buy a block of courses that can be taken by people in their organization
  • Pricing will need to be variable
  • Group reporting - the person who bought for the organization should be able to see who's taken, completed, etc.
  • Users will self-select their role which will take them to the appropriate version of a SCORM course
  • Test at the end, pass or retake
  • Provides certificate for the individual that they can print

This all seems like pretty simple stuff right?

What system would you use?

Would you consider a marketplace solution for this?  Do any marketplaces provide the group eCommerce capabilities?  What are the tradeoffs of putting it up on a marketplace?

I'd like to hear your suggestions and it would definitely be helpful to the person trying to solve this problem.

Related posts:


Anonymous said...

Hello Tony,

Great post.

I thought you may want to know about an app we're beta testing at the moment. It's called CourseCloud. It covers the many of the key aspects you referred to:

- Students can self-register and pay for themselves;

- Organisations can buy prepaid keys for learners;

- Pricing is variable, you pay per course sale;

- Reporting for course owners and for the person who has booked the course on behalf of others;

- Rock solid SCORM support - so it works with any SCORM compliant authoring tool;

- Provides certificates upon completion.

One of our key pilots is with Australia's largest telco:

Course Cloud is in closed beta at the moment, but people can register interest here:

I hope that is of some interest to you. Keep up the great blogging, always enjoy reading.

escalante blogger said...

Thanks also for the link Nick.

Jhon said...

Moodle, with some customization can reach all of the above goals I think.

accessplanit said...

Hi Tony,

Firstly, great blog !!

At accessplanit we have noticed a big increase in demand for our eCommerce LMS. We are getting interest from:

a) corporate training companies who are looking to compensate from a reduction in traditional training revenues

b) individuals who are looking creating and selling eLearning

Typically these people are struggling to find a solution that meets their need. The traditional LMS is either too expensive, too complicad or isnt geared towards learning commerce.

Our system has been developed specifically to meet this need and covers most of the features you mentioned including:

- low cost of entry / cost per registration
- online registration and payment
- vouchers and pre pay
- Scorm 1.2 and 2004
- certificate generation
- reporting
- invoicing which can be exported to finance system

We also provide integrated tools to help sell the courses:
- email marketing tool
- the LMS integrates seamlessly with a providers website

Further information is available at

Anonymous said...

I have a slightly different proposal. I work for Opensesame, which is an elearning marketplace.

We are not an LMS, but an ecommerce platform for buying and selling elearning courses and videos. Anyone can upload course files, set the per-seat and volume discount pricing. Anyone can purchase, view the course through our player or add the course to their LMS for an organizational environment. Note that we have a SCORM video player that will make any video file trackable in a SCORM-based LMS.

The seller gets 70% of the revenue and we keep 30%. Buyers pay with Paypal and sellers are compensated through Paypal.

We would love to connect and talk further about our features and use cases if that would be of interest. You can reach me at

Jim Johnson said...

Our company is a solution provider, rather than an app developer. We have found the best option is to use a good LMS with a good eCommerce suite, rather than re-inventing the wheel.

One example of this is using Magento and NetDimensions' Enterprise Knowledge Platform. This allows eCommerce for more than just eLearning.

We've also integrated EKP with OS Commerce and another proprietary eCommerce software.

Joe Deegan said...

I echo Jhon's comment regarding Moodle. With a little customization and a "shopping cart" plugin Moodle can do all of the above. I am actually working on a similar project and trying to narrow down my options for shopping carts if you have any suggestions.

Hollie said...

This is the exact situation that we are in. We use Plateau for internal training of associates and external training of our customers but, we need more robust marketing and e-commerce features on the external side. I'll be watching for the followup post.

craig smith said...

Absorb LMS does what you describe

Anonymous said...

Vantage Path does everything you ask and more.

At present they are supporting approximately 20 learning professionals but will expand marketing in January. Their authoring tool is Smartbuilder, rated number one by the elearning guild.

Matt said...

We have put together a site with Joomla, Magento, and Moodle that does the job, all open source. Then we use a Joomla plugin called JFusion to integrate the authentication between the different sites.

The biggest advantage of this set up is that we have a very robust eCommerce solution.

I would encourage you to take a look:

Anonymous said...

LearningCart supports all the features you outline.

Its been designed as a framework to allow users to manage their entire site. That means integrated CMS, Ecommerce, Blog Engine and SCORM Compliant LMS.

It has a variety of different ways to sell access to courses (or any digital file or system). You can setup a purchase to be an ongoing subscription, you can enable free trials, you can setup multiple pricing levels based on quantity, you can allow users to purchase access to registration codes they can deliver to their users for access and much more.

Additionally using the CMS you can build out any portion of your website, create new blogs and blog posts, process orders for physical products (such as training manuals & books) all from a very easy to use admin area.

The basic idea behind LearningCart is that for most organizations looking to sell access to online training, the LMS is just a small portion of their overall web presence. LearningCart seeks to provide a unified framework that lets organizations manage both their LMS as well as their broader website - all from a single admin interface.

Out of the box there are a ton of features so I highly recommend visiting the LearningCart website and scheduling a demo so you can see how the frontend and backend tie together.